Objectives: We conducted a prospective randomized trial to compare the clinical impact of conventional risk factor modification to that associated with the addition of coronary artery calcium (CAC) scanning.
Background: Although CAC scanning predicts cardiac events, its impact on subsequent medical management and coronary artery disease risk is not known.
Methods: We assigned 2,137 volunteers to groups that either did undergo CAC scanning or did not undergo CAC scanning before risk factor counseling. The primary end point was 4-year change in coronary artery disease risk factors and Framingham Risk Score. We also compared the groups for differences in downstream medical resource utilization.
Results: Compared with the no-scan group, the scan group showed a net favorable change in systolic blood pressure (p = 0.02), low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (p = 0.04), and waist circumference for those with increased abdominal girth (p = 0.01), and tendency to weight loss among overweight subjects (p = 0.07). While there was a mean rise in Framingham Risk Score (FRS) in the no-scan group, FRS remained static in the scan group (0.7 ± 5.1 vs. 0.002 ± 4.9, p = 0.003). Within the scan group, increasing baseline CAC score was associated with a dose-response improvement in systolic and diastolic blood pressure (p < 0.001), total cholesterol (p < 0.001), low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (p < 0.001), triglycerides (p < 0.001), weight (p < 0.001), and Framingham Risk Score (p = 0.003). Downstream medical testing and costs in the scan group were comparable to those of the no-scan group, balanced by lower and higher resource utilization for subjects with normal CAC scans and CAC scores ≥400, respectively.
Conclusions: Compared with no scanning, randomization to CAC scanning was associated with superior coronary artery disease risk factor control without increasing downstream medical testing. Further study of CAC scanning, including pre-specified treatment recommendations, to assess its impact of cardiovascular outcomes is warranted.
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00927693.
Copyright © 2011 American College of Cardiology Foundation. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.